THE road to victory wasn’t easy for the Negros Island Region’s sepak takraw team – led by Victorias National High School, not until they finally arrived to the most important moment in their careers – the finals.
Pouring down all their efforts and energy – playing against four tough opponents in a day schedule was all worth it after they bagged the 2017 Palarong Pambansa title late at the Diosdado Macapagal Promotion Center in Dalipe, San Jose – 36 kms. from there billeting area in Tobias Fornier.
En route the finals, the Alex Villaester-mentored Negrenses first routed Bicol Region (2-0), MIMAROPA (2-1), and Zamboanga Peninsula (2-1).
In completing the eliminations, NIR has to beat Ilocos Region, 2-1 early Wednesday followed by a triumphant victory over National Capital Region in the quarterfinals, 2-0.
On the same day, the Negrenses outplayed and eventually dethroned erstwhile champions Western Visayas, 2-0, before defeating Davao Region in the finals, 2-1.
For Victorias National High School principal Dr. Cheryl Tondo, the boys stood against the fortitude of time, displayed strength of character and a portrait of true sportsmen.
“Thank you to all who believed that we can make it. Thank you to all who supported the team,” she said. “It was a game of pure determination. Taking back what used to be ours and putting up all forces to support the team,” she stressed.
Tondo, further said that her players’ skills in the sport can be a passport in their college. “As I always said that an athlete must be academically honed,” she added.
Suited up for the champion team are Victorias City’s June Clyde Abellano, Edrhic Dave Balderas, John Erickson Balderas, Ricky Guarino, Christian Kyle Layson, and Ian Gerald Sudayan; Murcia’s Kervy Jules Cayetano, Ralph Christian Enriquez, and Renz Jay Velasco; and Bacolod City’s Paul John Embahador, John Paul Malubay and Peter Paul Malubay.*